Innovative road surface keeps Adelaide cool in summer

Published 21 Aug 2020

By City of Adelaide

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Adelaide, 21 August 2020 – An innovative trial project which saw sealant products applied to streets in the CBD has been shown to keep roads cooler during the day and night, reducing surface temperature.

On hot days, asphalt roads contribute to heating cities and urban areas, known as the urban heat island effect.

This can impact the comfort of those using the space, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

It can also impact retail trade for businesses near urban heat islands and increase energy and maintenance costs for surrounding buildings.

In January, The Cool Road Adelaide project tested how three heat reflective treatments applied to a 100-metre part of Bowen Street West work to reduce heat absorption, cool the area and create a more livable city.

The results were compelling, with all three cool road sealants showing a reduced surface temperature relative to the control asphalt road – one by as much as 8.65°C during the day and 4.2°C at night.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said cooling urban areas was an important part of responding to a changing climate.

“Urban areas really feel the heat on hot summer days because roads, footpaths and buildings absorb more heat from the sun,” said Minister Speirs.

“By cooling these areas down we can make them more attractive places for visitors, which can boost the local economy.

“It is exciting to see that this trial has been able to demonstrate that relatively simple solutions can make a big difference to the comfort of people using city streets.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to cooling our urban areas, which is why we have increased funding for our Greener Neighbourhoods program to see more trees planted on suburban streets.”

The Lord Mayor of Adelaide Sandy Verschoor said trialing innovative road surfaces was just one way that the City of Adelaide was working to combat urban heat islands in the CBD.

“These results from the cool road trial are very encouraging. We will also continue to monitor the road preservation qualities of these products.

“It’s great to know there could be adaptations made to our urban materials that could be combined with increasing trees and water sensitive urban design to cool our city streets and improve liveability.”

Climate-KIC Australia CEO Christopher Lee said these types of innovations can be used with other initiatives such as applying sealants to roofs, building retrofits and urban greening initiatives to cool cities.

“Given South Australia’s climate and relatively hot summers, these innovations are one of a variety of ways to cool down Adelaide’s inner city on those hot days and create a more liveable city,” he said.

The project was delivered by Climate-KIC Australia in partnership with the City of Adelaide, the State Government, and supported by Fulton Hogan.

The full results of the trial will be shared with local councils and interested practitioners at a webinar on 24 August 2020.

Please contact Jessica Hyne if you would like to attend the webinar – jessica.hyne@climate-kic.org.au.

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